Corresponding pleasures

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The blessings recited and their corresponding pleasure: [1]

Hanosein Lasechvi Binah:

Is a blessing said to give thanks to G-d for creating the rooster which awakens man in the morning.[2]

 

Sparks of Kabala

The inner meaning of Hanosein Lasechvy Bina:[3]

The spiritual root of the rooster in the world of Yetzira is the angel Gavriel. The root in the world of Atzilus is the five Gevuros of Ima. The job of these five Gevuros in Atzilus is to awaken the Sefira of Malchus which descends at night into the lower worlds. This occurs exactly at midnight. Likewise the angel Gavriel is in charge of awakening the souls in Gan Eden which have a level of concealment of

G-dliness when night begins. At midnight Gavriel awakens the souls to greet the new revelation of

G-dliness that they can now experience. Likewise in this world man must awaken to praise G-d at midnight. The physical rooster which is rooted in Gavriel and the five Gevuros hence crows to awaken man below just like its root does above. This is the inner meaning of this blessing, as it is going on all the levels of “Sechvy/rooster” that awaken the souls at night.

 

Pokeach Ivrim:

Is a blessing said to give thanks to G-d for giving us sight.

 

Matir Assurim:

Is a blessing said to give thanks to G-d for giving us the ability to move around our limbs after a night’s sleep of being unable to move.

 

Zokef Kefufim:

Is a blessing said to give thanks to G-D for giving us the ability to stand straight after a night’s sleep of being in a crouching position.

 

Malbish Arumim:

Is a blessing said to give thanks to G-D for clothing us.[4]

 

Hanosane Layaef Koach:[5]

Is a blessing recited in thanks to G-d for returning a fresh and re-energized soul to one’s body, which is a great act of kindness. This blessing was instituted by the Geonim as a result of the physical weakness which had descended to the world.[6]

 

Roka Haaretz Al Hamayim:

Is a blessing said to give thanks to G-d for giving us land to stand on.

 

Sheasa Li kol Tzarki:

Is a blessing said to give thanks to G-d for giving us the comfort of wearing [leather[7]] shoes. This blessing does not include other physical benefits [such as food etc] as by them a blessing is said separately by each time that their benefit is received. This blessing is not recited on the ninth of Av or on Yom Kippur as will be explained.

 

Hamachin Mitzadeiy Gaver:[8]

Is a blessing said to give thanks to G-d for giving us the ability to walk.

 

Ozer Yisrael Bigevurah:

Is said upon wearing a belt which separates ones heart from ones genitalia. The reason why the Jewish people [“Yisrael”] were specified in this blessing is because the wearing of a belt for a Jew is not just for bodily benefit alone, but also for the purpose of modesty and sanctity to separate ones heart from ones genitalia.

 

Oter Yisrael Bisifara:

Is said upon wearing a covering over ones head. The reason why the Jewish people [“Yisrael”] were specified in this blessing is because the wearing of a head covering for a Jew is not just for bodily benefit alone, but also as an act of modesty and holiness in order to draw upon oneself fear of heaven.

 

Hamavir Sheiyna until Hagomel Chasadim Tovim:

Is a blessing said to give thanks to G-d for removing drowsiness from one’s eyes. This blessing includes the Yehi Ratzon and concludes with Baruch Ata Hashem Hagomel Chassadim. It is hence considered one long blessing which both opens and closes with a blessing.[9]

Is one to answer Amen at the end of the blessing of Hamaavir Sheiyna? Being that it is considered one long blessing one does not answer Amen until the closing blessing of Hagomel Chassadim Tovim is recited.

 

The blessings of Shelo Asani Goy, Shelo Asani Aved, Shelo Asani Isha:[10]

Aside for the above blessings [which cover the physical benefits that one receives on a daily basis] one is also obligated to recite the following three blessings: Shelo Asani Goy[11]; Shelo Asani Aved; Shelo Asani Isha. These blessings are recited in thanks to G-d for creating us as a free male Jew, which has the merit and obligation to fulfill all of G-d’s commands that are given in the Torah, as a gentile, slave, and female, are only obligated in certain commands.[12] Alternatively, the Kabalists[13] explain that these three blessings are recited in thanks to G-d for not attaching to our soul, which ascended during sleep, the spirit of a gentile, slave, or woman. [Alternatively it is said as a thanks to Hashem for not originally placing our soul into the body of a gentile, slave or woman.[14]]

Does a person in captivity recite the blessing of Shelo Asani Aved? Even a person in captivity is to recite the blessing of Shelo Asani Aved.[15]

 

May one recite other blessing which were not included in the above list?[16]

(It is forbidden to recite any blessing which has not been instituted by the Sages or has not become accepted amongst majority the Jewish people.) [Thus one may not add on to the blessings recited above, even though there are other benefits which he would like to thank G-d for giving him. One who does so has said a blessing in vain, and carries with it all the severities which are said regarding one who says blessings in vain.[17]] Those that recite the blessing of Baruch Someich Noflim and Baruch Magbia Shefalim are making a mistake, and these blessings are not to be said at all.


[1] Based on 46/2; These blessings are recorded in the Gemara Brachos 60b and Menachos 43b

[2] See Tosafus Brachos 60b “Ki Shama Kol Tarnigola”

[3] Torah Oar 86a; Ayin Beis p. 1,142

[4] The Arizal explains that it is said for a person that has lost the levush of his soul due to sin, and in the morning Hashem returns it to him upon awakening. [Shaar Hakolel 1/11]

[5] 46/6; Rama 46/6

Other Opinions brought in Admur: There are opinions [Michaber 46/6] which question whether one may recite this blessing, as no person has the power to institute blessings after the Talmudic period, [which preceded the Geonic period by about half a century]. Practically, their argument is insufficient to negate the institution of the Geonim and the widespread custom of reciting this blessing. [ibid based on Rama ibid; and so rules Kabala] However certainly a blessing which has not been instituted by the Geonim, or was but has not become the widespread custom, may not be recited and one who recites it transgresses the saying of a blessing in vain. [Admur ibid]

Custom of the Sefaradim: The Sefaradim are accustomed, based on the Mekubalim, to recite this blessing despite the fact that according to the Michaber it is not tobe said. [Birkeiy Yosef 46/11; Sdei Chemed Mareches Brachos 2]

[6] This blessing was instituted to strengthen the faith of the Jewish people against the heretics. [Shaar Hakolel 1/11] The Arizal explains that it is said for a person that has lost part of his levush of his soul due to sin, and in the morning Hashem returns it to him refreshed upon awakening. [Shaar Hakolel ibid]

[7] As non-leather shoes do not hold Halachic significance. See Hilchos Yom Kippur Chapter 614.

[8] Some have the custom to say “Asher Heiychin…” [46/2] This however is not our custom as written in the Siddur.

[9] Although every blessing must conclude with a wording that reflects the content of the opening blessing, one can say that this is the case here as well as perhaps the words Hagomel Chassadim Tovim refers to the kindness G-d does by removing tiredness from one’s eyes. [ibid]

Considered a Biblical prayer: This blessing is considered a Biblical prayer, as the Shla writes that in this blessing is hinted the Shema, its blessings and Shemoneh Esrei. In addition it contains all the aspects required for a Biblical prayer, which open and close with praise of G-d, and have requests in the middle. Thus by saying this paragraph one has fulfilled the Biblical mitzvah of prayer. [Shaar Hakolel 1/8]

Second Yehi Ratzon: The Yehi Ratzon said after this blessing is written in the Gemara and is a Takanas Chachamim, and may therefore be said on Shabbos, despite that it contains requests. The Rashal would say it after Elokaiy Nitzor of Shemoneh Esrei, as did Rabeinu Hakadosh. However in the Siddur of the Geonim it was said after this last Bracha here. The reason for this is because the blessing of Hamavir is similar to Shemoneh Esrei, and thus it is proper to place this blessing after it just like Rabeinu Hakadosh would say it after Shemoneh Esrei. In the Gemara it is written in plural, while Admur writes it in singular. The reason for this is because by Gemara it was said with congregation after the Amidah, while now it is said individually as part of the Brachos. [Shaar Hakolel 1/15]

[10] 46/4; The positioning of these blessings here follows the order of laws in Shulchan Aruch. However practically these blessings are said before the blessing of Hamavir as it is like a preparation for the Davening, to which Hamavir is compared to as explained above.

[11] The Nussach of this blessing: In the older prints of the Shulchan Aruch it states “Shelo Asani Nachri”. However in the Luach Hattikun it states that it should really say Goy, and so has been printed in the new editions of the Shulchan Aruch and this is the way that the blessing is written in the Siddur. In the Rama 46/4 the Nussach is “Shelo Asani Akum”. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos 46/6]

[12] Admur 46/5 based on Beis Yosef, Levush; Kaf Hachaim 46/32

There is an advantage and disadvantage between all these three types of people: Although a gentile is worse than a slave in terms of his current obligation in Mitzvos, nevertheless there is an advantage of a gentile over a slave being that a slave does not have any lineage, as his children do not follow his ancestry but rather the mother, just like by an animal. This is learned from the verse “Shevu Lachem Poh Im Hachamur” that a slave is similar to a donkey in this regard. However a gentile [does continue the lineage of his father]. Furthermore a gentile is able to convert on his own accord and become a full fledged Jew. This is opposed to a slave [which requires his master to free him]. The disadvantage of a woman is that she is unable to become obligated in all the Mitzvos. This is unlike a gentile whom can convert and a slave which can be freed by his master. We thus must give thanks to Hashem that he did not create us as even the best of these three, but rather we merited to serve Hashem and be closer to him than any of the above three types of people. [ibid]

[13] M”A 46/10; Matzas Shmurim Kavanas Habrachos; See Kaf Hachaim 46/32

[14] First explanation of Matzas Shmurim brought in Kaf Hachaim ibid, omitted by Admur. See there that certain sins can cause ones soul to be reincarnated into a gentile, slave or woman, and hence we must thank Hashem daily for this not having occurred. Rav Avraham Azulai explains the reason for saying the blessing of “Shelo Asani Goy” is because after Avraham was chosen by Hashem all the Jewish souls are brought from one source and all the gentile souls from another. However prior to Avraham all the souls, both pure and impure were received from the same source. [Birkeiy Yosef 46/7]

[15] As the blessing is not being said out of thanks for ones physical freedom, but rather on that a Hashem did not create him as a slave which is only obligated in the Mitzvos of a woman, [as even in captivity he is obligated to fulfill all the Mitzvos just like a free man]. [ibid]

[16] 46/6

[17]  see Shulchan Aruch chapters 206 and 215

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